I did not know my mom was cool or tough. In fact, I only recently came to realize that.
It was one of those hot, lazy days towards the end of the summer. My sister Mandy and I were absorbing the air conditioner. It was too hot to swim in tepid water at the public pool and too hot to go outside. Mandy was lazing on the couch channel surfing. I was curled up with a book in the recliner.
We could hear our mom digging around upstairs in the attic…why she decided to go up there when it is so hot, we will never know. But we also know that once our mom sets her mind on doing something the wheels are in motion and there is no stopping her.
“EEEEK!” we hear our mom scream.
Mandy looks at me. I look at her. Both of us wondering what mom had found.
“My bet is she found a mouse.” Mandy said.
“I bet it’s a bird that got in and is flying around up there.” I spoke.
“Only one way to find out! One of us needs to go up there!” Mandy said.
A quick round of rock, paper, scissors determined that I was the lucky one to go investigate what our mom had found. However, I did not need to go up. We soon hear our mom stomping across the attic and making her way down the attic ladder and then she runs into the living room.
“Look at what I found!” mom exclaims.
We both envision a caught mouse or bird or something else horrible.
We were both sort of right actually. We look at mom and she is holding the brightest craziest pants we had ever seen. They are bell bottom pants with bright lime green and orange checks and giant white flowers all over them.
“WHAT are those?!” Mandy asks. “Those are horrible!” She states.
“Where did those come from?!” I ask.
“These are my favorite pants. I thought that I had lost them. I was digging around in the attic and looking in boxes and I ran across them. They are my POWER PANTS! I am invincible and can achieve anything in these pants! Or so I always thought!” Mom laughed.
“I had packed them away and after the move, I lost sight of them. Oh, this makes me so happy! I bought them years ago. Then later I wore them on a first date with your father; my then boyfriend and later husband -well that fizzled lol, but the pants endured!” She stated.
She is acting all giddy as a teenager and twirls around in circles clutching them to her chest. She runs out of the room but not before letting us know to get ready for our evening of fun before school starts next week.
We have a tradition of going school supply shopping and clothes shopping the week before school starts and end it with a trip to the ice cream store and sometimes a movie.
“Ooh I wish school didn’t have to start next week!” Mandy exclaims dramatically.
“I am looking forward to school. I need to feel more productive. Plus, I am finishing my summer’s reading list.” I spoke.
“You are so weird Mallory! Ugh!” Mandy calls out as she runs into her bedroom to find her shoes.
I throw a pillow at her but miss her. I love my little sister, but she is ALOT sometimes!
I go into my bedroom and find my own shoes. Run a brush through my hair and settle back into the recliner with my book while waiting on my mom and my sister to appear.
Mandy comes back into the room and bonks me on the head promptly with the discarded pillow. I am not surprised.
“You two ready for fun? Let’s kick it!” Mom calls out.
We both stare at our mom. We can’t believe our eyes. She is wearing her POWER PANTS! Omg. Plus, an orange t-shirt and platform sandals, giant bangle earrings and she’s piled her hair up.
“Please Mom, if we spot any of my friends don’t talk to them…PLEASE!” Implores Mandy.
I just giggle. I’m silently awestruck at the transformation of my mom into this 1970’s fashionista.
“Let’s go!” Mom says.
Oh, the fun we had POWER PANTS and all. Our mom made everything an adventure, even clothes shopping and school supply shopping.
Throughout the years, (and I was often amazed that the pants still fit her, but she stayed active and watched what she ate), we saw the pants appear on her at times when she felt she needed an extra boost of confidence or power. She wore them to sign her divorce papers, she wore them to protest the placement of the crosswalk at the middle school. She wore them to my poetry recital knowing my father would be there with his new girlfriend.
Mandy and I started to believe that the pants truly did have power. We watched our mom transform into this woman of steel resolve and were convinced they were POWER PANTS and must be made of Teflon. Or maybe our mom was.
A year later she drove to the doctor’s office. She was asked to come into their office to discuss the lab results. I went with her and sat holding her hand. She held her head up high when she got the news. Chemotherapy would start immediately because they wanted to aggressively attack the cancer according to her doctor. And yes, she was wearing her POWER PANTS that day.
To say that watching your mom endure cancer was hard is an understatement. My sister Mandy and I took turns holding her hair back or helping her up off the floor in the bathroom when she was sick. She was embarrassed, yes. She was angry, yes. She was sick and tired, yes. But one thing she wasn’t was mentally weak. Her resolve to beat this thing was empowering. And do you know what? She did. Her cancer was in remission. I’m not surprised. We were convinced our mom was superwoman.
Many years later, our mom sadly hung up her cape. Her organs finally gave out and she left us. But not before making sure the house was tidied, a meal was cooked, and that we were taken care of. True mom style....
And so, it was on this bright sunny Saturday morning as I am attending my daughter’s soccer game that I find myself reflecting on my mom. I needed an extra boost of courage as I confront some girls that have been picking on my daughter and, perhaps I’ll confront the moms too. Who knows?
I walk to the bleachers and the only thing brighter than my daughter’s smile when she sees me or the sunshine blasting in my face is the brightly colored hues of the lime green, orange checked and white flowered POWER PANTS that I am wearing. Bring it on! I’m wearing Teflon. Or maybe I am.